Professional vs Amateur Design

I have an interest in the relationship between professional design activity and amateur design activity - where does one end and the other start? I am interested in the tensions between 'Design' as a profession - a specialised area of expert activity for industrial production, and 'design' as carried out on a daily basis by a huge number of people across the world in designing and making things for themselves. Where exactly are the boundaries between the two, and what happens at those boundaries? Projects in this area can be seen by clicking on the links below.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in Design

The concepts of open design and of individualised production at first sound like something from a Utopian science fiction film. And yet here we are. We can now easily download designs from the internet, alter them at will to suit our own needs and then produce perfect products at the push of a button. Magic.
More...

Ghosts of the Profession: Open Design and Post Industrial Manufacturing

For most of our history, the design and production of goods have been carried out by individuals, without the requirement for any kind of professional framework or system. In fact, only since the onset of the Industrial Revolution has the design of a product become so divorced from its manufacture and a heavily regulated process of production, distribution and consumption been put in place.More...

boundaries

Boundaries? What Boundaries? The Crisis of Design in a Post-Professional Era

There is a developing awareness of the interconnected nature of design and the convergence of different design disciplines as boundaries are increasingly contested and transgressed. Yet the most significant boundary currently not only being crossed but being dismantled is the boundary between professional and amateur, between 'designer' and 'user'. More...

unlimited

The Changing Role of Design in a Post-Professional Era

The 'Boundaries' article formed the basis of a keynote presentation at a forum debating the question of what open design means and what it has to offer to design and to designers. It aimed to explore the sociocultural implications of open design and the democratisation of production and consumption in our design culture. More...

ghosts

Ghosts of the Profession

The focus of this special issue is the constantly changing relationships between amateur and professional practice over the last century. It demonstrates that professional and amateur practices are always connected, even when the relationship is one of repudiation. At the same time, the professional is often a categorization that amateur designers reject. More...

DIY

Do It Yourself: Democracy and Design

This special issue aimed to generate a discourse around the interface between 'design' taken as the activity of 'professional' designers; and 'Do It Yourself' taken as its antithesis - a more democratic design process of self-driven, self-directed amateur design and production activity carried out more closely to the end user of the goods created. More...

flyer

Do It Yourself: Democracy and Design Exhibition

This exhibition explored the history of the DIY movement and the freedom it gave the consumer to take control of the design and manufacture of goods. It examined the manuals, newspaper reports, magazines and later, radio and television programmes, as often the only evidence that remains of what for many has been a significant part of everyday life. More...

Work, Rest and Play

Much has been written about the choice of objects in the home, but these are largely private - seen only by a select few; and even though they may speak volumes, they speak quietly. When, on the other hand, people choose objects to personalise their workspace, under the pretence of personal meaning, a blatant, public expression of self, is made. More...

  Back to Top